Australian Fine Artist

We had this topic raised in class today. What are your top five priorities and is the time allocated to each of them reflective of the importance of respective priorities?

That made me create a list immediately. Something I don’t seem to have problems with after several years as 2IC in art departments and being in charge of projects for employers which required weekly meetings to report on progress. It is the only way I have been able to get things done in a timely manner in the past few years for not only my personal life but also for any contracting or fine art business.

So what are my priorities?

  1. Health
    I have put health in first because without health you can’t achieve anything in the list below it. I can’t function as a wife, artist or anything else if I can’t do the things required because of ill health. Creativity is much harder if you can’t think straight and if you become physically disabled it is only going to make everything you do harder (not impossible – just harder). So ever since being made redundant three years ago I have been under the watchful care of a great GP and try to keep healthy. This includes us having regular vitamins, regular sleep, trying to reduce stress, a healthy diet and trying to fit in a moderate amount of activity. ( I overdid it during summer and paid with tendonitis so moderation is now the key)
  2. Husband
    I would not be practising as an artist today if it were not for my husband. He encouraged me to get going, he helped me become a member of the first art guild I joined, he has made sure I have a comfortable studio to work in, he helps me research reference material, has backed me going back to study, he even delivers paintings to the courier and to exhibitions. I have a division of the business set up by him and he handles all the accounting and my web site. We work as a team and I make sure I set aside time for him and make sure he knows how much our relationship means to me. I know I can do things alone, as I have done it in the past, but having a partner to take this journey with me is so much better.
  3. Career
    Even though this is my main objective at the moment I have put it as number three. This is because I feel that without the two things above this the career would not work as well anyway. My common sense side would probably say that financially going back to school with a mortgage, other debts, no house of our own and cars that are falling to bits is not the smart thing but my gut instinct is leading me the other way. I feel very strongly that this is exactly what I should be doing. It’s now or never so I am giving this course and building my art business my best shot. This sometimes means going to a meeting after school until 10pm or later when I may not feel like it, volunteering to gain experience or working over weekends to get ready for an exhibition or complete homework. Stephen understands this and he is often in the studio catching up on things as I work or takes the time to watch one of his personal favourite movies that I don’t particularly want to watch (his “me time”). It is all a matter of communicating and agreeing on what we are doing.
  4. Home
    We don’t have a house to call home, we live in a bungalow on my mother in law’s property. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have duties. I do most of the property maintenance and gardening as well as helping to clean her house, our bungalow and the studio. I also have animals to tend to. This is also where I get a lot of my exercise.
    We are planning on getting a house on to our property in the next couple of years by getting a house removed from another block to ours and refitting it to comply with permits. It has to wait on superannuation to become available so is on hold. I am currently keeping an eye on the market for when we can go ahead.
  5. Social/Recreation Life
    Socially our needs are simple. Most of our relatives live too far away to see often and we only have a few friends. One has only just moved back to Melbourne from Sydney. We try to catch up a few times a year as we are all very busy and they also live in distant parts of Melbourne. A part of my social life are the art guild meetings I attend as I have built up some casual friendships there. We also get along with our neighbours very well and sometimes arrange dropping in for coffee and a chat. Stephen and I go for a drive every now and then and these can also be used for researching photos for art references as Stephen has shown an interest in photography. We also go out for the occasional afternoon tea or discount dinner at a local cafe. The rest of our recreation time is catching up on recorded favourite TV programs or watching a favourite movie as a “movie night at home”.

Average Weekly Activities (these vary but give an indication of how much time we allocate to various activities and prioritise them)

Whilst I am at school or doing homework etc from 9am to roughly 6.30/7pm Monday to Friday Stephen is working on building our business infrastructure, doing work for IT clients of the business or doing work for his casual IT job for Monash Uni. He also does some errands for my part of the business such as delivering/picking up paintings, photographing artworks for the web, working on my web site or handling accounts.

Monday through Wednesday and Friday

  1. 7-7.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast leave for TAFE
  2. 8-9/10am prepare items for school, sort lockers. Catch up with other students and network/chat
  3. 9/10am-4pm Classes
  4. 4.30pm Afternoon tea with Husband
  5. 4.45pm Check livestock and feed if required
  6. 5-6.30pm Email, work on any current art projects, homework for TAFE
  7. 6.30-6.50pm Exercise bike as per GPs instructions (3 to 4 sessions a week x 20 minutes)
  8. 7-7.30pm Dinner (once a month Monday and/or Wednesday includes an Art Guild at 7pm so we eat earlier so I can attend)
  9. 7.30-8.30/9pm Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties, prepare for breakfast next day
  10. 9/9.30-10.30pm TV Programs and relax (sometimes checking social networking sites on iPhone at same time)
  11. 10.30pm Retire for the evening

Thursday

  1. 7.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast
  2. 8-9am Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties
  3. 9am-to around midday Groceries, PO boxes, any other shopping or things that need to be done whilst out in the car as a round trip (once a month at 11am I attend the McClelland Gallery for an artists talk and presentation, this pushes other activities for the day back or they have to be done earlier)
  4. 1-1.30pm Lunch with Husband and Director’s Meeting for our business
  5. 1.30-6.30/7pm Homework and any art projects that are in progress and email
  6. 7-7.30pm Dinner
  7. 7.30-8.30/9pm Dishes, put away any washing etc, general household duties, prepare for breakfast next day
  8. 9/9.30-10.30pm TV Programs and relax (sometimes checking social networking sites on iPhone at same time)
  9. 10.30pm Retire for the evening

Saturday

  1. 8.30am Make bed, dress, have breakfast (I make it on the weekend)
  2. 9am-1pm Catch up with recorded TV programs with Husband whilst getting clothes washing out on the line.
  3. 1-2pm Lunch
  4. 2-6pm Some Saturday include me going to a Guild Meeting from 1-4pm others we do some work on the property or on the studio, if I have a lot to do Stephen will work on the studio and I will do my artwork or homework and we help each other.
  5. 7-11pm Relaxation time to catch up on a movie on DVD, more recorded programs etc together
  6. 11pm Retire for the evening

Sunday

  1. 9am Make bed, dress, have breakfast (I make pancakes every Sunday as they are a special treat for us – mostly for Stephen)
  2. 9am-1pm Watch The Bolt Report, Behind Business etc, check for Arts Programs that are often on during Sundays, catch up with any left over recorded TV programs with Husband, put away washing from Saturday.
  3. 1-2pm Lunch
  4. 2-6pm Do some work on the property or on the studio, spend some time with my horse, if I have a lot to do Stephen will work on the Studio and I will do my Artwork or Homework and we help each other. Prepare requirements for TAFE the next day. If we are up to date on things or feeling a bit tired we may take Sunday off and go for a drive to get out of the house etc.
  5. 7pm-11pm Relaxation time to catch up on a movie on DVD, more recorded programs etc together
  6. 11pm Retire for the evening

A couple of things we have been neglecting lately are going for walks and I have encouraged Stephen to go for a walk in the morning just after I leave for school as this is when he has the time to fit it in.

As I have managed to wreck my Achilles tendons, I haven’t walked as much as I’d like I have moved my exercise bike into the reading room in the studio to use whilst catching up with the news at 6.30-7pm a few times a week before making dinner. I hope to start walking with Stephen again a bit later in the year before dinner. That will give him two walks a day which is what has been recommended by our doctor.

Stephen and I both keep diaries and an iPhone calendar to try to make sure we meet our commitments and they are linked so we can see what each of us is doing. That helps a lot. I also keep a whiteboard in the studio for projects such as exhibitions during the year.

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